Radio Bean and Lamp Club Light Shop are over an hour away from our new homestead in Vermont but have quickly become two of our favorite haunts on the weekends…it helps that all our town has is a general store, so the whole social scene isn’t exactly drawing in artists and musicians to come to our quaint rural town. While the venues are right next door to one another, have the same owners and both encompass this “intimate” kind of a vibe to their atmosphere, they manage to do so in very different ways. The Bean is a bit more “divey” but still charming as all hell. Music is happening here at what seems like all hours of the day and you can come in to enjoy music and a beverage (caffeinated or boozey) and even quiet conversation. There is no pretension here and while I am the type who likes to keep quiet and take in the music, respect the artist on stage, you won’t be shunned from the bar if you choose to sit in the back and enjoy both quiet conversation AND the music that happening at the same time.
The Lamp Club is a bit more swanky in a retro, thift shoppy sort of way. Couches and comfortable seating line the walls, the raised bar area to stage right is our favorite perch and gives you a perfect vantage point to grab a bite or brew and almost hover right above the artist on stage. The set up is great where there are front areas for that same “conversing while enjoying the music” but a wall helps to deter the artist on stage from realizing people are talking during their set. It allows audience members to “choose their own adventure” in a way. We always choose to engage fully and pay attention.
A few weeks back I saw that Tom Brosseau and Sean Watkins would be performing at the Lamp Club and admittedly thought it must be some other Tom and Sean as the venue typically caters to smaller touring acts and locals. But nope, it was them. Both are wonderfully talented guitar players and songwriters and I was mighty excited to see them in such a great room. We picked our usual perch and settled in for what would prove to be a great show. The dynamic between Tom and Sean was a mutual admiration society of sorts. The respect they have for one another as artists, tour mates and pals was palpable how they interacted with one another while performing. Tom would slowly dip the headstock of his guitar and motion with a slight nod to Sean to take a solo, almost a bow of “here you go, lets see what you can unleash here”. And Sean would make eye contact back, almost tossing the ball back for a lay up. The crowd was great and filled in really nicely (which had me a bit nervous at first before the set started). Speaking of which, what really got me was the set leading up to Tom and Sean’s. A fingerstyle guitarist named Austin Charnis that was just fantastic. I looked to my left to see Tom front and center engulfed in the performance. That always makes me smile to watch one artists enjoying the art of another.
Here’s a few videos from the night. One of the duo together performing Brosseau’s “Today is a Bright New Day” off of 2014’s Grass Punks and another of Sean’s song “21st of May” that he performed during a short solo section of the evening…